As Jonny Trunk prepares to release its haunting soundtrack for the very first time, Lally MacBeth and Matthew Shaw of Stone Club look back at the otherworldly ‘Children of the Stones’.
Children of the Stones first began haunting our minds in January 1977, when Matthew and his astrophysicist dad landed on our televisions and arrived in the mysterious village of Milbury. Each episode howls into life; the Avenue of Stones that follows the road into Milbury leads Matthew and his dad, Adam, into a strange otherworldly forcefield filled with chirpy villagers and noises in the middle of night.
For us, here at Stone Club, the magic of Children of the Stones is deep within the web of the cathode ray, an otherworldly projection through the mists of time, soundtracked with spectral voices that rise and swell. The soundtrack is such a huge part of how Children of the Stones gets under the skin. It is haunting in the truest sense of the word — from the very first ‘ooooOOooo’, sung by the ethereal Ambrosian Singers (a London-based choral group), it sends shivers up the spine.
It is clear as Matthew and his father first drive into Milbury and the music floods through the speakers they are not escaping any time soon. As they explore more, it becomes apparent that the stones surrounding the village are very much animate, the soundtrack getting ever more unsettling as the stones move and the villagers disappear. Clip to a few episodes later, the villagers hand in hand, a chorus of voices emerging from the stones in the middle of the night whilst Matthew tries to unpack what force is gripping this odd village.
That this soundtrack has now made it onto vinyl for the first time is an incredibly exciting thing for all megalithomaniacs and lovers of vintage children’s television. A wait of 45 years before appearing makes this a highly anticipated release, and one that we are sure will be treasured by old and new fans of the programme. Listening to the voices of the Ambrosian Choir extracted from the visuals of Children of the Stones makes the soundtrack even more ghostly. A liminal sound experience like no other, like floating in the forcefield that surrounds Milbury.
The stones, landscape and the sounds are captured, frozen in time, as the people of Milbury are trapped in stone forevermore. Happy day!
The first copies of Trunk’s ‘Children of the Stones’ LP, with artwork from Julian House and sleeve notes by Stewart Lee and Alan Gubby, will be exclusively available at The Groovy Fayre, taking place at the Mildmay Club, N16, this Saturday. Copies will come with an A2 full colour print of the spooky Les Matthews stones paintings from the TV show and six postcards of woodcuts from the original COTS book. More information here.